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WILLIAM TON  HUMBOLDT.                  325
languages he barely understood. In the background
Humboldt conversed with his friend Zoega; while
Lucien Bonaparte was paying his court to the lady
of the house. Madame von HEumboldt, while she did
the honours of the house, displayed more than any-
where else her great social talents. She was the soiil
of this splendid circle, which she filled with her mind
and amiability,—not her husband, who lived more for
a few chosen individuals. Such was their reputation
at the time, that few books written on Home or
Roman life at that period neglect to name them
with praise and respect.
In autumn a pause generally interrened> for then
Humboldt repaired to the country for some time with.
Ms family. Immediately after his arrival In Rome
he hired a summer residence in Ariccia, and went
there in July of the following year; but a domestic
misfortune occasioned their quick return to Roxne?
and made them take an aversion to this residence in
future.
In the autumn of 1S(M? we find him in Albano.
Here, aifd in the neighbouring Marino, he made a
short stay every year, and excursions to more distant
points were sometimes undertaken from here; but we
know nothing of longer journeys to different parts of
Italy, which he must doubtless have made. We do
not know whether he was in Sicily—how he liked
Morence—not even that he.visited Naples ; though
so much is sure, that nothing., to Ms mind, equalled
the influence Rome exercised over him.
Unalloyed happiness rarely falls to the lot of man.
Perhaps it is that we may the better enjoy its plea-
sures that pain is mingled with them by fate. In
the first year of his Roman residence, Humboldt met
with a heavy loss, that of his eldest boy. Since Joly
1803 his family had been frequently in Axicci% to
spend the hottest part of the summer there in the
cool air. In this summer the heat was insupportable
even in the hills., and the strangers especially fell
victims to it. About three weeks after tMs misfortune